Covid: Booster vaccine to be offered to all who are eligible by December 31

Eluned Morgan insists vaccines are the most effective way of helping the NHS ahead of a "challenging winter". Credit: PA

The majority of people who are eligible will be offered their booster jab by the end of the year, according to Wales' Health Minister.

In an updated Covid-19 vaccination strategy, Eluned Morgan has insisted vaccines are the most effective way of helping the NHS ahead of a "challenging winter".

By the start of November, all 12 to 15-year-olds will be offered their first dose of the vaccine. Care home residents, as well as health and care workers will also be invited for a booster by this date.

The Health Minister is urging everyone to take up the offer for booster vaccinations and flu jabs.

She went on to explain that this winter flu season could be 50% to 100% higher than a typical season and could peak at a different time.

The majority of people who are eligible will be offered their booster vaccine by December 31 Credit: PA

Looking ahead to the coming months, Eluned Morgan said: "This winter will be incredibly difficult for our health service so it is vitally important for people to take up the offer of their Covid-19 and flu vaccine if eligible to protect themselves and the NHS".

“Vaccinations for coronavirus are highly effective and protection against hospitalisation is estimated at around 95% after the second dose."

She also encouraged people to get the flu vaccine regardless of their eligibility for the coronavirus booster jab.

"We have so far given more than 4.6 million Covid-19 vaccinations and 85% of the over-16 population are fully vaccinated.

"We hope as many people as possible take up the offers to continue to protect those most vulnerable and the NHS."

The autumn booster programme has already begun across Wales as frontline workers were one of the first to be invited by health boards.

Everyone who falls into the JCVI's priority groups 1-9 will be invited for their booster jab at least six months after their last dose.

People who are severely immuno-suppressed will be offered a third dose of the vaccine and prioritised for an urgent appointment depending on their treatment and medical advice.

The vaccine strategy also introduces a digital booking system for people to book appointments online at a time that suits them.

During the briefing, the Health Minister acknowledged anti-vaxx protests which took place outside vaccination centres over the weekend.

"We all have the right to take part in peaceful protests and to make our views known."

"But reports of adults bullying and harassing children and their parents as they enter a vaccination clinic are nothing short of despicable", said Eluned Morgan.